Sleep Care

What Sleep Debt is Costing You

What Sleep Debt is Costing

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Sleep debt. You know that feeling. You’re groggy, sluggish and irritable and without caffeine you feel like you can’t function. But there is more to sleep debt than just feeling poorly. In fact, it can cost you physically, financially and relationally. In fact, the National Commission on Sleep Disorders has estimated that sleep deprivation costs the nation $150 billion every year. Combine this fact with the health risks and damaged relationships that accompany sleep loss, and you will find you’re paying a high price for missed sleep. Listed below are five ways in which sleep loss can be costing you.

More Medical Issues

Research has shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to develop health issues. For instance, loss of sleep increases your risk of stroke and heart disease. In fact, you are 15 percent more likely to have a stroke and 48 percent more likely to develop heart disease. Additionally, sleep deprivation can affect appetite hormones. Studies show people who sleep four hours or less each night have a 75 percent higher chance of being obese. Meanwhile, a Harvard-run Nurses’ Health Study found a connection between lack of sleep and an increased risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes. And finally, losing sleep reduces your immunity to disease and viral infections because immune cells can stop functioning as sleep deprivation increases.

More Accidents

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, there is a good chance you are going to be clumsier than normal, which can lead to a higher chance of accidents even while performing normal tasks at home or at the office. Additionally, driving when you are sleep-deprived is as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, anywhere from 16 percent to 60 percent of car accidents involve a sleepy driver, and 30 to 40 percent of all heavy truck accidents are caused by sleep deprivation and fatigue. In fact, sleepy driving causes Americans to shell out roughly $48 billion per year to cover accidents.

More Relational Difficulties

Losing sleep can be costing you in the relationship department as well. Everyone knows that lack of sleep can make people grumpy. But sleep loss also contributes to mood changes including depression, increased irritability and a loss of a sense of humor. Additionally, lack of sleep reduces your threshold for containing anger and you can quickly lose friends, make spouses angry, upset negotiations and even make enemies. Meanwhile your stress, anxiety, worry, frustration, and nervousness all increase. You may even experience overwhelming feelings of not being able to cope with simple problems and moderate workloads. Finally, lack of sleep can leave you wanting to avoid group participation or interactions with others. You may even disengage from the outside world due to feeling lethargic.

More Bad Decisions

Lack of sleep reduces your ability to concentrate, impacts short-term memory, reduces your ability to handle complex tasks, impacts critical thinking and decision-making skills and can even reduce your vocabulary and communication skills. And on the job, these can equal a poor evaluation and fewer raises and promotions. Likewise, employees who have insomnia cost employers $3,225 more than employees who get enough sleep. Meanwhile, students who don’t get enough sleep the night before a test don’t do as well on the test as students who do. The overall GPA of a sleep-deprived student versus a student with adequate rest is 2.84 as compared to 3.18. Furthermore, when you’re tired, you are more likely to make risky decisions. So when it comes to your money, this means that lack of sleep can alter the way you make financial decisions, causing you to take more gambles with your finances.

More Out-of-Pocket Expenses

One of the first things sleep-deprived people will reach for is caffeine. Whether it is a Diet Coke, a cup of black coffee or a trip to Starbucks, these indulgences can quickly add up. For instance, if you buy espresso every day to help you stay awake, you can end up spending upwards of $5,000 per year, or if you a cup of coffee every day, you can end up spending close to $1,900 per year. Although you could save money by picking less expensive caffeinated drinks, the best thing is to simply get more rest. Another cost that sleep-deprived people often shoulder is the cost of convenience. For instance, if you are too tired to make dinner, you might opt for fast food or take-out instead. The same is true for washing your car and cleaning your house. Sleep-deprived people are more likely to hire others to do things and these services can add up quickly.

In close, it is important to remember sleep is not a luxury but a necessity. Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your health, detrimental to your relationships and detrimental to your budget. So when it comes to getting sleep, remember less snooze time can result in more problems.